Many people have parasites in them without knowing it. A parasitic infestation is something that anyone can get. It is really more spread than you think.
Parasites are microorganisms that live in and feed off other organisms. There are different types of parasites that your body may have. Some of them eat the food you consume, others survive on red blood cells and some lay eggs in your body.
Some of the most common types of parasites are lambia, tapeworms, pinworms, trichinella, hookworms, and entamoeba fragilis.
They enter the body through the mouth or skin. You may get a parasite infestation if you travel to places where parasite infestations are spread and if you are exposed to areas that have parasites. Poor sanitation, contaminated water or food, weak immune system, and poor hygiene are also reasons for getting this problem. Living with pets is another reason that leads to parasite infestation.
Parasites have different shapes, forms, and sizes, causing a variety of symptoms and signs.
- Chronic digestive issues
If parasite infestation attacks your intestines, then it can destroy the gut lining and cause inflammation that leads to chronic diarrhea.
One study from 2015 found that parasites cause gas, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea, bloating, burning sensations in the stomach, and nausea.
You may suffer from parasite infestation if you have some of these symptoms even after changing your diet and consume highly alkaline foods every day.
- Abdominal pain
Parasites that reside in the upper small intestinal region can cause irritation and inflammation in the area. This leads to abdominal pain and a bloated feeling.
Parasites can also stop the waste products to leave your body, which causes pain in the upper area of the abdomen.
One study published in 1986 in the Singapore Medical Journal revealed that a key cause of abdominal discomfort is hookworm infestation and is especially prevalent among adults who have recently traveled abroad.
Sudden severe abdominal pain can be an alarm that you may have these parasites, so check with your doctor.
- Anal itching
If the area around your anus is itching, especially at night, then you may have a parasite infection. Pinworms are the types of parasites that are the reason for anal itching that occurs at night when the female pinworms lay eggs around the anus area. They cause itching, irritations, crawling sensations, and even acute pain.
If the area around your anus is itching during nights for more than two weeks, and if you don’t have rashes, then this may be a sign of parasitic infestation.
- Fatigue and weakness
Intestinal worms that take the body’s vital nutrients cause fatigue and make you feel week. If your body doesn’t absorb the minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, and fats, your body may become weak, and make you feel depressed, exhausted, and with general apathy. These parasites also produce toxic metabolic waste that destroys the normal functioning of the organs in eliminating toxins from the body. This is another reason for lethargy, low energy, fatigue, and excessive weakness.
If you have constant fatigue even though you eat and sleep well, then consult your doctor to find out the reason.
- Change in appetite and weight loss
If your appetite suddenly increases and your body weight decreases, then these may be symptoms of pinworm or tapeworm infestation.
These parasites consume a large amount of the food you eat, making you feel hungry more than usual, especially in the mornings. Also, you may never feel enough full after eating meals.
- Mental distress
Parasite infestations also influence our mental and emotional state. They can cause depression, mood swings, visual hallucinations, and anxiety. These symptoms are often paired with digestive problems.
Intestines contain neurotransmitters and neurons that contribute to a healthy enteric nervous system, especially the neurotransmitter serotonin. The toxic metabolic waste that is produced by the parasites that reside in the intestine attack the neurotransmitters and neurons which causes restlessness, nervousness, depression, and mood swings.
Scientists also assume that inflammation in the intestine leads to inflammation in the brain and vice versa.
- Teeth grinding
Teeth grinding while sleeping may be a sign of having a parasite infestation. Known as bruxism, teeth grinding can occur due to restlessness and anxiety because of the toxins and waste that the parasites release in the body.
- Iron deficiency anemia
Intestinal pinworms or roundworms can cause iron deficiency and anemia. These parasites steal the nutrients such as good vitamins and iron that the person consumes.
One study published in 2008 in the Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice discovered that anemia and worm infestation is spread among preschool children that live on farms.
If children grow slowly and lose weight, consult the doctor.
- Skin problems
Intestinal parasites cause inflammation in the body that leads to some skin problems such as eczema, rashes, hives, and other types of skin allergies.
The level of eosinophils may be also increased by the waste and toxic products that parasites release that leads to swellings, sores, ulcers, and lesions.
Parasites also lead to brittle and dry hair and hair loss.
- Muscle and joint pain
Some parasites invade joint and muscle tissues where they cause pain and irritation that is often misdiagnosed as arthritis.
Parasites also release toxins that cause inflammation. If you can’t find the reason for your pain that is becoming worse, consult your doctor.
Dr.Javeed Kakroo Microbiologist Certified infection control Auditor
Kidney Hospital Srinagar [email protected]